Prasna Upanishad (Part-1)- Origin of Created Beings


Mantra 5

aadityo ha vai praano rayireva chandramaa rayirvaa etat.h sarvam yanmuurtam chaamuurtam cha tasmaanmuurtireva rayih || 5||

The sun is, indeed, Prana,  life, Energy; the moon is Rayi, food, Matter. All that have form (gross) and  all that is formless (subtle) is Matter and therefore anything having a form is  indeed Matter.

Prana (sun) means the primal  energy which makes the matter, Rayi (moon), exist and function. Science also  says that sun is the source of all energy in this universe. If the sun is the  source of all energy and life, the moon, which is the matter and which reflects  the sun’s light is the fit medium for energy to manifest through. Thus matter  is dependent on life for its existence even as the moon is dependent on the  sun. (Note-This aspect is taken up for further scrutiny in the 2nd  question).

We have to note here that matter does  not mean only solid things which have form but includes even those which do not  have forms like all our thoughts and ideas, sound waves, air, water etc. These  are subtler planes of existence up to Intellectual and Atomic planes. The  structure of even the subtlest planes of existence is matter according to the vast  definition given to it in this Upanishad. Hence matter may exist from the  grossest to the subtlest.

Just as links in a golden chain  are also nothing but gold, the thoughts and ideas of our mind and intellect  which are moulded by the objects and happenings of the outside world cannot but  be anything other than the outside world. Just as the formless outside world is  governed by the forms of the outside world the formless inner world of ours is  nothing other than the form world outside. Hence the Rishi says that the form  is indeed matter. From this standpoint, a thought form or sound form is nothing  but matter, however beautiful they may be. A form, just because it is subtle,  cannot become life.

Sun is the energy aspect which  meets the world of forms outside and formless world within. The moon is the  presiding deity of the matter without and within. Thus our life, both within  and without, is nothing but a play of the sun and the moon as defined in this mantra.

This entire universe, that which  is gross and that which is subtle, is one with Rayi. Therefore is Rayi  omnipresent. In like manner is the universe one with Prana. Nothing can exist  without duality - Prana and Rayi - at the root of their manifestation, and they  are still being maintained by them. The sages knew from the beginning that the  sun and moon were essential even for plant life. All “things” are the  embodiment of Prana and Rayi. The universe is Prana and Rayi. Spirit -  Paramatman and Atman - alone is independent of these two, and untouched by  them.

This can be better expressed in an  equation as under.



Mantra 6

athaaditya udayanyatpraachiim disham pravishati tena praachyaan.h praanaan.h rashmishhu sannidhatte |  yaddakshinaam yat.h pratiichiim yadudiichiim yadadho yaduurdhvam  yadantaraa disho yat.h sarvam prakaashayati tena sarvaan.h praanaan.h rashmishhu sannidhatte || 6||

Now the sun, when  it rises, enters the eastern quarter and thereby enfolds the living beings of  the east in its rays. And when it illuminates the southern, the western, the  northern, the lower, the upper and the intermediate quarters—when it  illuminates everything - it thus enfolds all living beings in its rays.

In this mantra the sage tells us that the sun is the  representative of the pranas and the moon, the deity of matter. At the touch of  each, the living creatures behave differently. Human beings, animal kingdom and  plant life behave differently at the touch of the rays of the sun and the moon.  Just as the one sun can be reflected in numerous ways, so Prana enlivens all  things and moves within them. The life even in an atom is Cosmic Life.

Mantra 7 - 8

sa eshha vaishvaanaro vishvarupah praano.agnirudayate|tadetadrichaa.abhyuktam.h||7||

vishvaruupam harinam jaatavedasam

    paraayanam jyotirekam tapantam.h|

sahasrarashmih shatadhaa vartamaanah

    praanah prajaanaamudayatyeshha suuryah||8||

That sun is vaisvanara or one who is identified with  all living beings. He is visvarupa or  one who assumes all forms. It rises everyday as Prana (life) and Agni (fire, energy).  This has been described in the following mantra of RigVeda. “The thousand rayed  sun exists in hundreds of forms as life of all living beings. It is  resplendent, all-knowing, goal of all, sole light and giver of energy”.

These mantras give us a bird’s eye view of the sun as a prime-mover of  the goings-on in the universe. The sun is glorified as the nourisher of all  life, the illuminator of all forms of matter and the provider of energy for  sustenance of life as well as matter. The sun is the sum-total of all waking  state egos in the world. All the waking state activities, experiences and  thoughts of the world take place because of the energy produced by the sun.

The waking state gross-body consciousness we have individually, if viewed  from the point of totality of the universe, is called vaisvanara which is identified with the sun. The term visvarupa means assuming all forms. Here  it means that the sun with its light-giving-energy principle is the cause for perception  of all forms seen by the eye and hence the sun is stated to assume all forms.  Prana (life) and Agni (fire) which represent the sun indicate the feeling of  warmth and the body warmth is the icon of life living in it. Pippalada says  that this picturisation of the sun is supported by the Rig Veda mantra which  says, “The thousand rayed sun exists in hundreds of forms as life of all living  beings. It is resplendent, all-knowing, goal of all, sole light and giver of  energy”. The statement of the Sruti covers the sun in its macrocosmic and  microcosmic aspects of existence and functioning.

The mantras 7 and 8 discussed above indicate that the sun is not merely a  physical planet to be observed and researched but it is liveliness itself  expressing through the activities of all matter. Hence it is considered as  “life of all creations”.

In fact, the sun (Surya) is considered Brahman itself in the Suryopanishad occurring in the Atharva Veda as the following mantra  tells us.

aadityaadvaayurjaayate aadityaadbhuumirjaayate
    aadityaadaapojaayante aadityaajjyotirjaayate
    aadityaadvyoma disho jaayante aadityaaddevaa jaayante
    aadityaadvedaa jaayante
    aadityo vaa eshha etanmandalan tapati asaavaadityo brahma

From Aditya is born air, earth, water, fire, sky, directions, Devas, Vedas;  indeed the Sun gives warmth to this sphere (Planet) ; that Sun God is Brahman,
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